Unless you have the kind of budget that can buy you air-time during Super Bowl or spots during the Stanley Cup finals, it is probably safe to assume the majority of your marketing resources are put into digital marketing. But is the effort paying off? Are you overwhelmed with the ever-changing landscape in the world of digital marketing? Let’s break down the details and help you improve your business.
Let’s use a restaurant as an example for this article. Imagine you are a local restaurant owner, trying to promote your business in the online world. What should you do?
Have your own website.
Traditionally speaking, restaurants is a storefront business. But keep in mind that because 88 percent of consumers research the products or services online, it is important to have a clean and modern website.
Yes, you can have an online presence with social media and third-party services such as Ubereats or Doordash too, but the flexibility of those will never match the level of your own website. When a restaurant website is clean, modern and showcases their establishments and food, it generates appetite and the atmosphere of your establishment before the customers even step foot in your restaurant.
Already have your own website?
Great, now perfect it! Update the design if it’s outdated, make sure your content and menu are up to date. Most importantly, work on your SEO.
SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is the process of improving your search rankings. This can be achieved by having the right keywords, having updated content, writing blogs and have the correct layout. For more detailed information on how to improve your search ranking, click HERE.
Another way to improve your website is to have additional features, for example, can customers order pick up or delivery on your website? Does your website offer online reservations? When you incorporate these features into your website, not only are you creating a more convenient experience for your customers, you can also save time and resources on picking up phone calls and performing these tasks manually.
Online presence on multiple platforms
Having a website is great and definitely necessary, but don’t forget about other platforms. Having an online presence and profiles on multiple platforms is essential to run a successful marketing campaign. Again, going back to the restaurant example, you should utilize social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. You should also make sure you are attentive to the review websites such as Yelp and Google review.
The quality and quantity of the Google reviews of your restaurant are also very important as it is related to your SEO. 49% of users say they use Google to discover or find a new item or product. A business listing that has good Google reviews presents greater credibility and, naturally, receive more clicks.
Be engaging with your audience online, show your customer care on bad reviews, encourage customers to leave a review and award them with a free drink or a coupon for the next visit. Most people need some type of incentive to leave reviews. Be responsive to inquiries on your social media inboxes. Update your opening hours and keep the information consistent between different platforms.
Having to manage the profiles on multiple platforms may seem time-consuming, but rest assured, this will contribute greatly to your business when you run marketing campaigns.
Perform market research to find your ideal customer
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, we don’t have unlimited resources to put out advertisements everywhere, we need to understand the demographics of our current or prospective customers.
Is your restaurant located near multiple office towers and has a huge lunch rush during weekdays? Or does your customers mostly consist of families? These are the questions and research you have to do to understand your customers and your target market. You can utilize analytics on your website or simply provide a survey for customers to fill out in exchange for some free food or coupon.
You are now ready to run marketing campaigns
There are many different types of digital marketing campaigns, here are some examples and how you can utilize the work you did previously to make the campaigns successful.
Expand your target audience
Let’s say you did the research and found that your customers are mainly 35+ years old. You want to increase your business by reaching out to younger customers. Here are some of the strategies you can put together and run a successful campaign.
First, use the “Influencer Market” on social media. Reach out to the local food bloggers on social media with large followings and work with them to promote your business. Depending on the influencer, you may have to pay them a fee or give them a certain number of free meals.
This is where having your own social media account is important, by working with influencers, you have access to the large followings of the person and potentially make them your followers. You can also issue out specific promo codes so that you can see the results of the particular influencer.
Next, social media have paid ads that are very specific to the demographic, it is easy to create and run super-targeted ads and deliver your message to the right customers. It is important to note that consistency is key in digital marketing, you want your presence to be remembered by your target audience.
This means running social media ads once a year is not enough. Make sure you update your social media platform with new content a few times a week, and most importantly, keep the community involved by running contests, giveaways, and new specials.
Increase returning customers
Let’s say you ran a few successful marketing campaigns and expanded your customer base, how do you keep them coming back for more? The most common way of doing so is with a loyalty program, and we are not talking about having a stamp card that says buy 10 get 1 free.
If you can make the loyalty program engaging, it will set you apart from your competitions. Don’t give out physical stamp cards, collect the customers’ email instead. Allowing the customers to collect points with their email. You can then send updates and offers to your customers over email. In fact, you can encourage customers to sign up for an account with their email on your website by offering them coupons or promotions.
With the pandemic situation, many restaurants have focused on take-out or delivery services. As they were not allowed to have dine-in customers. Even with the regulations being loosened, the capacity a restaurant can sit is significantly lower than pre-covid19. This is where your website becomes extremely important. If you can offer online ordering through your website, you can not only save time and money by not having a staff taking phone calls and manually inputting the orders, you can also allow the customers to collect reward points through your website.
Lastly, gamification of your loyalty program. Make collecting points fun and not just by spending money. Give points for following your restaurant on Instagram or liking your page on Facebook, give points when they “check-in” to your establishment. You can also have a game-like system where if the customer order three different items per order, the customer gets bonus points that they can redeem for free food next time.
Email is the most effective digital marketing campaign to date. The average ROI is $42 for every $1 you spend on email marketing. Emailing your customers are a good way to increase business and to communicate with your customers. The emails can let your customers know about your new dishes, promotions and specials. The wording should be friendly and warm, while subtly pushing them towards coming back to your establishment. Make sure you actually have at least some new information to offer, or people might lose interest in opening your email.
This can also be used as expanding your customer base, simply offer the existing customers some promotion if they bring friends or family to the restaurant and you will get new customers bringing other people to your restaurant in the future.
Networking with other local businesses
This method doesn’t apply to all types of businesses but it applies in our local restaurant example. By utilizing other small business owners in your area, you can work with one another and expand your market.
Traditionally speaking, if your restaurant is located near a busy business centre, consider offering discounts for salesmen meeting with their clients or offer good deals on team parties.
In the world of digital marketing, you can connect with other local businesses digitally. For example, feature a local hotel on your website in exchange for the hotel recommending your restaurant to the travellers. You can feature each other on social media, comment on each other’s blogs, posts and more.
Having an online presence is essential, but more importantly, having an online presence that will help grow your business and reach your goals is what you should aim for. In uncertain times like these, the little things will help you stand out from the crowd.